TOKYO (Nikkei)–Seven & i Holdings Co. (3382) later this month will begin issuing gift certificates valid only in stores in the area devastated by the massive earthquake last March.
The gift certificates will be good at stores in the three quake-hit prefectures determined by the government, along with parts of Aomori, Niigata, Tochigi and Ibaraki prefectures — an area that encompasses 2,442 of Seven & i’s group stores.
The move comes in response to the government implementing a reconstruction assistance eco-point program for three years starting Jan. 25, awarding points for new homes that meet energy conservation standards. The points can be exchanged for gift certificates at some 100 businesses recognized by the government or for products made in the quake-stricken area. Product eligibility can be confirmed online.
Such exchanges require a minimum of 5,000 yen in points and can be exchanged in units of 1,000 yen. The previous eco-point program charged 200 yen as a shipping fee each time points were exchanged for an eligible product, but the new program is intended to aid economic recovery and thus will be free.